1. The new Carpenters recording with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is now available for preorder! Use this link to preorder, and help us out at the same time. Thank you!

Official Review [Album]: "VOICE OF THE HEART" (SP-4954)

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Chris May, Sep 30, 2013.


  1. ***** (BEST)

    17 vote(s)
  2. ****

    26 vote(s)
  3. ***

    30 vote(s)
  4. **

    7 vote(s)
  5. *

    1 vote(s)
  1. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Another What If:
    (What if) The song "Look To You Dreams" had been recorded in 1974/1975? .
    Imagine the lead vocal, and the overdubs done by only Karen and Richard Carpenter.
    A missed opportunity.
  2. mr J.

    mr J. Active Member

    There's no missed opportunity with "Look To Your Dreams"-Richard always intended to use a big band orchestra on that track. If it had been recorded in 1975, Billy May would've (most likely) done the arrangement & orchestration-instead of Peter Knight.

    I would've preferred an improvised sax solo in place of the OK Chorale-but,otherwise,that track was as well done as it could've been.And,Karen's performance is exquisite.
  3. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Mr.J., I do agree with your observation that am improvised sax solo would have been quite preferential to the OK Chorale!

    My (personal) opinion regarding, or pertaining to, "missed opportunity" is that Karen Carpenter's vocal intonation and
    stamina were at an all time high in 1974. And, even Richard Carpenter, in the Treasures liner notes, thanks Karen for
    recalling this gem to his attention; thus, (I speculate):
    Where in the back of Richard's mind did he have this song 'awaiting' the perfect time for recording?
    When would he finally have had Karen record this gem if she had not persisted, at that time?
    His arrangement on the "Santa Claus is Coming To Town" is par excellence, and I feel that (IMHO!) that type of
    brilliant Richard Carpenter arrangement would have benefited "Look To Your Dreams".
    Given the tragic circumstances which unfolded, the song is now the LAST song on the Voice of the Heart LP, thus,
    to the average listener (not hardcore fan) its connotations are somewhat sad and depressing.
    Not because it is a sad and depressing song, quite the contrary....but, only due to the tragedy which befell Karen.

    I humbly, though respectfully, disagree that it is done as well as it could've been done.
    Karen Carpenter's vocals were much stronger in 1974, Richard Carpenter's arrangements were virtually flawless
    at that time, popularity was at an all time high worldwide; getting that song into the 'marketplace' at that time
    would have been incomparably better.
    That is what I mean by missed opportunity.

  4. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    In the event that there are folks who do not have access to the Liner the Notes, in the 1987 Treasures Compilation,
    These notes , by Richard Carpenter, when referring to "Look To Your Dreams"
    I reprint here:
    "In 1974 Karen asked John (Bettis) and me to write her a song that was a cross between a Standard and a Show-tune.
    We wrote "
    Look To Your Dreams".
    The three of us were very fond of it, but I postponed committing it to tape because
    I felt it wasn't that contemporary.
    Karen never forgot "Look To Your Dreams", and at her urging, we tracked it in 1978 during the Christmas Portrait Sessions.
    Peter Knight was asked to pen the arrangement.
    The lead was recorded shortly after.
    After putting the finishing touches on
    Look To Your Dreams for inclusion in Voice of the Heart, I realized that all along,
    my sister was right. Thanks Karen."

    ---Richard Carpenter (1987, Treasures, Japan)
  5. Jeff

    Jeff Well-Known Member

    Look To Your Dreams has always been a downer for me. One, I don't buy Karen's enthusiasm and two, Rich at the piano...solo...alone...trailing off to the end of an era. Ick this song is a skip for those reasons.

  6. LondonRobert

    LondonRobert Active Member

    I actually really quite like 'look to your dreams'. I like it far far more than 'because we are in love'. It has lovely, hopeful lyrics and I like the 'don't give up' feel to the track.
    The piano at the end ( which comes up as 'epilogue' when i ripped it for my ipod ) is rather sad though........... but then I suppose that was Richards intention.
    Mark-T likes this.
  7. A&M Retro

    A&M Retro Well-Known Member

    Amazingly enough, Karen wasn't crazy about 'Ordinary Fool'. Richard said she probably would have changed her mind had she heard the finished version.
  8. ullalume

    ullalume Well-Known Member

    A big fan of Look To Your Dreams. She really sounded great in '78.
  9. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Honolulu City Lights

    Retro, where was it noted that Karen wasn't crazy about Ordinary Fool and where did Richard say she would have changed her mind on the final version? I don't remember this.

    Richard's notes about the song state that it was one of several extra songs recorded during the 1976 Kind of Hush LP with additional recording and mix done in 1983. I wonder what this song sounded like before the 1983 mixing and additional recording, in other words what did Karen hear when they recorded it in 76. Can you imagine Richard has not only the final version on a lot of these songs but he also has the original versions before he did any additional mixing or recording.
  10. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    I would imagine it sounded pretty much like the unsweetened 'Honolulu City Lights'. In this case, it would have been the basic track with piano, drums and bass recorded but missing the oboe, strings and sax solo. It's such a slow-paced, bluesy recording that it probably did sound very bare and uneventful without the sax and especially the strings towards the end as they give the song much more warmth. Her reading though, whatever the state of the backing track, is outstanding.
  11. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Honolulu City Lights

    I can understand how Karen might have thought the song was bland, the sax and strings really complete the track, I'd love to hear Karen against just the basic track with piano drums and bass, sorta unplugged, Richard is sitting on a goldmine of unplugged recordings. I know that I have no right to hear them but man....to think these recordings might still exist and are sitting away somewhere....Can you imagine if Richard put together a one night convention and he brought stuff like this to play for the fans over a high end audio system set up for perfect playback in conference room, a room filled with just fans that love their music and he played some of these basic tracks before he mixed them up sorta like an unplugged Carpenters....of course everyone would need to be frisked before entering so all recording devices and cell phones could not capture the event. I think the presence in the room with Karen's vocals in raw form would be something like one has never experienced before.

    Ahhh I'm dreaming but it's a sweet dream.
    aaflyer98, GaryAlan and Jeff like this.
  12. LPJim

    LPJim Well-Known Member Moderator

    Since this is the next regular AOTW, and it's been discussed here, I will skip to the next one in the 4900 series,
  13. Dave

    Dave Well-Known Member

    I don't believe this! We've come this far in our AOTW's (it seems like yesterday when this started) and actually stumbled on a Carps LP! :rocker:

    -- Dave
  14. LPJim

    LPJim Well-Known Member Moderator

    .... I'd say 'yesterday once more' but we're not quite there album-wise (although the single was from '73).
  15. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    I've migrated the above article to this thread because I found the following quote interesting, where Richard talks about the absence of Karen in the background vocals:

    "The rest I did myself, using falsetto and lower harmony, or I used a studio group. I think it's a beautiful combination, a great singer and a pop choir".

    He seems to be quite happy with the chorale sound to most of the tracks, but the general consensus these days among fans (certainly on this board) is that they OK Chorale are out of place on most songs, dating all the way back to 'I Need To Be In Love'. It had to be tough though, because for certain songs, his own male harmonies probably didn't work or wouldn't suit the material, so he must have been sat there thinking "how else am I going to pull this off?"
    Jeff and GaryAlan like this.
  16. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Boca Raton News (from New York Daily News) December 15,1983,
    Latest Album is Legacy of Karen's Style
    "The face on the album jacket still has the fresh, clear, big-eyed smile. The voice on the vinyl still has the sweet,
    slightly husky tone that completed the seduction. The only difference these days is that Karen Carpenter, owner of the
    voice and the face, is gone, and "Voice of The Heart" arrives as a legacy instead of an ongoing story.'
    "..the result is the same smooth, tuneful, easy listening the Carpenters always produced."
    "What we do know is that her voice survives. Although..no top -10 singles after 1975...when pop radio abandoned soft rock.."
    "Their songs are now regarded, worldwide, as pop standards." (Earlier this year they had a #1 Album in Australia)

    Entire Article here:
  17. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    December 18,1983 Reading Eagle,
    Voice of the Heart keeps familiar Carpenters' Beat
    "...for Karen Carpenter the final notes of her tragically short life form a statement of artistic consistency."
    "...embodies all of the familiar characteristics of the brother-sister team's past work."
    "..finds its strength in Karen's vocals."
    "...over-all tone of the collection is soft, even by soft pop standards."
    "...the melodies are pleasant, if not on par with the duo's early classics."
    "...the OK-Chorale mimics the duo's backing style well enough, except on 'Your'e Enough', where they sound like a chorus from Disney..."
    "...Among the best is Ordinary Fool..a moody, bluesy ballad, with jazz overtones."
    " ...A few years back, Karen recorded an adventurous project--sans Richard--that featured more aggressive material.
    The powers that be have yet to decide whether the image-threatening collection will ever leave A&M's vaults.
    Even if it does, it will be an oddity,an artistic side trip in Karen Carpenter's career."

    Jeff likes this.
  18. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    LOL! The O.K. Chorale always sounded like Disney - hence why we dislike them. I don't like them on anything Richard used them on. Other than the overuse of oboe, this was his biggest production crime.

    Jamesj75 likes this.
  19. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    I'll drink to that! :tiphat:
  20. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Honolulu City Lights

    The only place I really like them is on Christmas Portrait, well except for Ave Maria. :wink:
    Jeff likes this.
  21. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    From the--
    Official Carpenter Site,
    Richard Carpenter regarding song :
    Ordinary Fool:
    "I happened to see " Bugsy Malone" in 1976, heard Ordinary Fool ,
    got a demo and then played and sang the piece on a cassette for Karen to hear, as I wasn't crazy about the demo.
    ( Until reading the book First Lady of Song I did not know Ella had recorded it.)
    Karen and I recorded it in 1976 while working on our A Kind Of Hush album.
    Originally it was recorded the way we did virtually all our recordings, bass, piano, drums and a "work lead" so, as you know, the drummer
    and bassist could hear the melody while reading their charts.
    Karen was not that taken with the song and it did not make the album.
    -- 1983-- I put together an album of outtakes from various years that I felt were pretty decent songs, if not hits, and "Ordinary Fool", obviously, was one of them.
    I always felt the song perfect for Karen's voice and even though it is a work lead, it's flawless,
    so I completed the chart, adding strings, winds, brass and a tenor sax solo by John Phillips.
    The result remains one of my favorite Carpenters recordings and I feel if Karen could hear it a few times now, her opinion of it just might change.
    I realize this is all much more than you need to know, but the upshot is that the only person Karen heard sing Ordinary Fool was I."
  22. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    "Ordinary Fool" remains my favorite recording by the duo. "We've Only Just Begun" is a close second.
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  23. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Another (re-) listen o the entire album last night.
    This had to be a tough project for Richard Carpenter to complete.
    I seem to recall that it was intended for a Summer release, held back until Fall;
    "Ordinary Fool" .....A Work Lead.....all the more remarkable!
    And, Karen was "...not that taken with the song.." (Richard Carpenter) !
    I do appreciate that Richard Carpenter was able to assemble the album under such circumstances.
  24. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    It might sound strange but I think this was better suited as a winter release. It has a sad, dark, reflective mood and feel to it, made all the more poignant given the circumstances in which it came to be released.
  25. adam

    adam Active Member

    Im suprised Voice Of The Heart Album when released in October 1983 wasnt more of a Worldwide hit.
    Only charted in Uk 6
    USA 46
    Japan 41

Share This Page

Users Viewing Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 0)